Rooted Vision: A Conversation with the Curriculum Committee about the 2023 Annual Conference

Written by Anti-Bias Working Group

Filed under: News

Members of the Anti-Bias Working Group (ABWG) met with ACPE Certified Educator Beth Jackson-Jordan, as a representative of the Curriculum Committee’s conference planning group. The group is currently planning the Annual Conference in New Orleans, May 22-25, 2023.


ABWG: This year’s theme and image are striking – Rooted in Our Values; Growing in Our Vision: The Future of ACPE and the Craft of Spiritual Care and Education. How did the Curriculum Committee come to consensus on the conference theme and call for presentations?

We did a lot of brainstorming and began to focus on some key elements. We mentioned the importance of continuing the anti-bias work, and several of us mentioned we thought it might be time to get as practical as possible about what anti-bias looks like in our behaviors, the way we work as educators in planning curriculum and CPE learning activities. ACPE Certified Educator Ben Iten shared the Tree of Life exercise he does with his groups at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital.

The exercise felt like a unifying metaphor and theme to bring together, acknowledge, and honor values that have been part of CPE, to continue to be rooted in those values as well as recognize values we may want to let go of that are part of a way of being we are moving away from.

The values are the roots of the tree; the trunk is our current state and what we are building as we have come through transition and changes, and the branches and leaves are the future we want to be moving toward. We thought about using a “world café” roundtable as a way of engaging all of us exploring those three parts of our common life in ACPE.

The power of this approach is that it supports our grieving, honors all our generations, lets us acknowledge racial and other reckonings as well as the traumas of COVID, our shifts away from regions; this approach lets us honor the past as well as engage where we are going from here.

We envision inviting a Glaz-Plummer speaker but having more community engagement in the plenary sessions rather than big-name speakers. We want to pull from the expertise within ACPE, especially from those who are doing things we want to learn more about in terms of integration of all the anti-bias work in our CPE curricula. We imagine inviting folks who are exploring best current adult learning theories and inviting these folks to propose workshops as well as solicit ones we know would be good.

ABWG: What will that look like on the ground?

One thought is what could have been a plenary will be a “world café” approach: tables with facilitators and discussion prompts. This will enable us to engage different topics and different groups of people with varying ages and generations and other aspects of diversity mixing at each table. We’d like to pull info from conversations at the tables and use some kind of display approach to share among the community in real time, and capture some of the conversations focused on envisioning and being open to co-creating where we are headed.

ABWG: What are you hoping for in submissions from members?

We are inviting people to be really practical in presenting on CPE learning activities: How are we innovating what we are doing with process groups? verbatim approaches? how do you do didactics? We are inviting folks to get practical on what we do and how we do it and how it is informed by our values.

ABWG: How do you see this theme meeting the moment we are in now, and the one we may be in come spring?

We want to have plenty of open time for conversations, processing our memories of these last few years when we have not been together face-to-face, and to share in our own celebrations and memorials. We’ll have a special day for CECs, and we are thinking about a commencement for everyone who has completed their process since the last time we met in person.

It’s important to connect in an ethical way with the space, meeting in New Orleans. We are still working on what it will look like to connect with the place and the people, and to be as embodied as possible in everything we do.

ABWG: We are so excited about all the potential of these ideas and can’t wait to see you in New Orleans!


Want to submit a workshop proposal? Click here. The deadline is October 7, 2022.